‘Casino’ high­lights SkyCity deal

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By SI­MON DAY

A card­board casino which spent the day in Aotea Square is now on its way to Wellington.

The fake casino is de­signed to draw at­ten­tion to a deal that will give SkyCity more ma­chines.

The Gov­ern­ment is ef­fec­tively al­low­ing a new casino to be built in Auck­land, by al­low­ing SkyCity an ex­tra 510 gam­ing ma­chines and ta­bles, Green Party co-leader Me­tiria Turei says.

The party built a card­board casino in Aotea Square on Mon­day. It was filled with 230 im­i­ta­tion poker ma­chines, 240 player sta­tions and 40 gam­bling ta­bles to il­lus­trate the size of the deal.

‘‘The 510 ad­di­tional gam­bling ma­chines and ta­bles gifted to SkyCity would be, on their own, the third-largest casino in New Zea- land,’’ Ms Turei says. ‘‘That’s a casino which wouldn’t ex­ist with­out this deal.’’

In a $402 mil­lion deal signed with the Gov­ern­ment in July, SkyCity will de­sign, build and op­er­ate a con­ven­tion cen­tre, re­ceiv­ing in ex­change an ex­ten­sion on its li­cence to 2048 and the al­lowance for the ad­di­tional ma­chines and ta­bles.

The deal has by­passed leg­is­la­tion and ig­nores ad­vice that in­di­cates the dam­age prob­lem gam­bling causes to com­mu­ni­ties, Ms Turei says.

‘‘The Gam­bling Act out­laws casino growth in or­der to pro­tect New Zealan­ders from prob­lem gam­bling,’’ she says.

‘‘But the pokies-for-con­ven­tion­cen­tre deal gives SkyCity a spe­cial waiver al­low­ing it to grow, de­spite of­fi­cials warn­ing that about 6500 kids will be harmed by the ad­di­tional prob­lem gam­bling gen­er­ated by the deal.’’

The card­board casino will be pre­sented to the Gov­ern­ment in Wellington.

Photos: LAWRENCE SMITH

Ig­nor­ing ad­vice, left: Green Party co-leader Me­tiria Turei says a Sky City deal has by­passed leg­is­la­tion and ig­nores ad­vice that in­di­cates the dam­age prob­lem gam­bling causes to com­mu­ni­ties.

Card­board casino: Aotea Square was trans­formed into a Card­board Casino by the Green Party in protest of the pro­posed SkyCity Con­ven­tion Cen­tre.

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­bournews.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to see the card­board casino come to­gether.

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